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Jun 26 2012

Clarify something for me, Texas GOP

The Texas Republican Party’s 2012 platform reads:

We support the definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman, which is the foundational unit of a healthy society, and we oppose the assault on marriage by judicial activists.

This may seem pretty straightforward, in that their obvious intention was “no gays allowed”, but it’s actually not that simple. What defines a “natural man” and a “natural woman” for the purposes of marriage? Everyone is “natural”, after all, but as far as these things go, this is one of the slights that’s so common it barely stings anymore. Do they mean someone who was assigned male, or female, at birth? Or do they mean cis men and cis women only?

Their platform document (PDF) makes no explicit reference to trans people. Given their insistence that “natural” men and women are the only ones eligible for marriage, how do they feel about trans people getting married? Do they support allowing trans people to change their legal gender? If not, are they comfortable with the idea of same-sex couples where one partner is trans being allowed to marry, since they’re still legally considered a “natural” man or woman? And where does this leave intersex people?

Does the Texas Republican Party even know what “intersex” means? Or “cisgender”, for that matter?

25 comments

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  1. 1
    The Nerd

    We already know that Texas doesn’t view intersex people as natural people. http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2011/06/02/234421/transgender-widow-actually-intersex-court-decision-ignores-nuance-of-sex-gender-and-identity/

  2. 2
    Robert B.

    It is straightforward. It means “Marriage: no queers allowed.” Any resemblance to an understanding of how sex and gender actually work is purely accidental.

  3. 3
    BK

    I’ve spoken to right-wing people here in Texas, and it seems that they don’t want trans people to marry anyone, because they’d rather trans people not exist in the first place. As for intersex people, apparently they don’t deserve rights because “they are very rare.”

    1. 3.1
      Robert B.

      As for intersex people, apparently they don’t deserve rights because “they are very rare.”

      I imagine they mean that, since intersex people are so rare, denying them their rights is not so bad as to outweigh the need to deny the icky trans people their rights.

      … it doesn’t really get better when you think about it more, does it?

      1. BK

        That is one way of looking at it, but the tone is usually dismissive, as if intersex people are so rare that considering their rights is as silly as considering the rights of unicorns or gnomes.

        1. Leo Buzalsky

          So, I’m trying to understand your comment…

          Are you saying people in Texas actively speak out against rights for people who are intersex? I ask because, as in my main comment at #7 below, I’ve never seen intersex conditions mentioned in discussions of marriage. But then nor do I live in an area with a majority of bigots.

          As I am married to someone who is intersex, I have wondered what the fundamentalists/conservatives would think about my marriage. Would those down in Texas be against it (in general)? (Now, unlike the poor woman whose story The Nerd linked to in #1, my wife was marked as female on her birth certificate, so maybe their ignorance would be to her advantage?)

          1. BK

            Well, this has come up when I’ve debated right-wing (not everyone thinks like this) Texans that I know personally about the rights of trans people to marry. They seem to feel that trans people are simply weird, and should keep their weirdness to themselves and “in the bedroom” nice, eh? When I question them further, they will often bring up the idea that trans people are deluded, and that one’s “genetic sex” determines one’s gender, period.

            Generally, when I ask about intersex people, and who they should be allowed to marry, they wave the question aside entirely, stating that these conditions are too rare to seriously consider. They mostly don’t want to talk about it, period. So, basically, they don’t speak out against rights for intersex people to marry, but when I suggest that not all intersex people are assigned the appropriate gender at birth, and may not be able to marry someone the right-wingers would deem appropriate, they shrug it off.

  4. 4
    KNessJM

    I’d imagine that, were it up to them, everyone would simply have to live with the sex they were born into, and associate with the traditional gender role of that sex. Anything else is clearly Satan’s doing….

  5. 5
    Pierce R. Butler

    This emphasis on “natural” people is blatant discrimination against corporate people!

  6. 6
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    Exactly what everyone else has said.

    No trans people getting married to anyone.

  7. 7
    Leo Buzalsky

    And where does this leave intersex people?

    Indeed! I’ve had that question myself ever since I found out my fiance (now wife) is intersex. I have wondered if rarity may be a factor into why it doesn’t seem important. I’m a bit confused by what BK said above, though.

    1. 7.1
      BK

      Sorry if that was confusing. “apparently, they don’t deserve rights,” was me being sarcastic and hyperbolic. They simply shrug the rights of intersex people aside, instead of actively claiming they don’t deserve rights.

  8. 8
    Alyson Miers

    Do they support allowing trans people to change their legal gender? If not, are they comfortable with the idea of same-sex couples where one partner is trans being allowed to marry, since they’re still legally considered a “natural” man or woman? And where does this leave intersex people?

    I think their answers would be, respectively: no, no, and they should be fixed at birth.

  9. 9
    Autumn Sandeen

    …”Although the validity of marriage of an intersex person has not been tried in court, legal challenges to marriages of transsexuals abound. Transsexuals believe that they have been born in the wrong body and often pursue a difficult and painful process of surgical reassignment. But courts often don’t recognize the change of sex and invalidate spousal rights of transsexuals. In the 1999 landmark case of Littleton vs. Prange, a male-to-female transsexual was denied the right to sue under a wrongful death statute for the death of her husband. The Texas Court of Appeals referred to sex provided by ‘our creator’ as opposed to sex created by physicians and rejected ‘man-made’ sexual organs.

    “Sex should be easily definable, but it’s not. Our gender identity — our profound sense of being male or female — is independent from our anatomy. A constitutional amendment authorizing marriages only between men and women would not only discriminate against millions of Americans who do not fit easily in the mold of each category, but would simply be flawed and contrary to basic biological realities.”

    ~Eric Vilain, chief of medical genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

  10. 10
    Annie

    “Does the Texas Republican Party even know”–STOP.
    Zinnia, one does not simply finish that sentence with a straight face.

  11. 11
    Aliasalpha

    Well there goes my plan of hosting the worlds first all robot mass wedding in Texas!

  12. 12
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Annie @10:
    Give the TX GOP a little credit.
    Didn’t they know how to pray for rain?

    ~~

    Zinnia:
    Does the Texas Republican Party even know what “intersex” means? Or “cisgender”, for that matter

    They’re still learning what “LGBTQI” stands for. So I believe the answers are no/no to both your queries.

    1. 12.1
      Robert B.

      Give the TX GOP a little credit.
      Didn’t they know how to pray for rain?

      Apparently not, actually. The drought got way worse after they did that.

  13. 13
    baal

    “which is the foundational unit of a healthy society”

    The whole plank is messed up.

    Many societies have nuclear marriage. Many societies have arranged marriages. I’ve a 1st generation Indian (which isn’t really the best identifier – Hindu gets closer) brother in law and have worked extensively with people from India. They view marriage as a merging of families. Many Indians live in multi-generational housing. Structurally, it provides a lot of easy day care and they even fill in for each other at their day jobs or provide swing work when one job site needs more bodies for a given task. They also care for the elderly in that communal fashion. The fact that there is a married couple somewhere in the mix is somewhat secondary. (and yes India is moving toward single nuclear family marrying for choice but it’s a really complicated issue – i am focusing on very workable other models for what makes a foundational unit for a healthy society)

  14. 14
    Makoto

    I wonder if, assuming they got a law of that sort onto the books, it could be argued in court that someone who has a tooth filling, pierced ears, or has had any form of surgery no longer counts as “natural”.

  15. 15
    fireweaver

    tony @ 12:

    Rick Perry prayed for rain TWICE. A month after the Reliant Stadium fiasco, the Fexas Freethought Convention rolled into town and all involved had a great time. On the very last day (a Sunday), it rained like a cow pissing on a flat rock. The irony of that was so delicious I just couldn’t stop giggling every time I thought about it for a week afterwards.

    As for everything else, the Republicans are NOT EVEN WRONG.

  16. 16
    lordshipmayhem

    Of course one could read that as excluding not only trans and cis, but also those with artificial limbs, dentures, breast implants and other non-natural enhancements, repairs or restorations to the natural body. Of course that would exclude a large number of military veterans, especially those victims of IED’s from Iraq and Afghanistan, but the Right only appears to offer lip service to American heroes, don’t they?

  17. 17
    fireweaver

    @17: The right wing 1%ers and jeezoids do not consider anything outside their wealth, power, and privilege worthy of their concern. They really believe that the men and women who fight their corporate wars are expendable nobodies unworthy of comment.

  18. 18
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    On a lighter note, I’m not sure of the religious right’s definition of ‘unnatural’, but it definitely sounds like more fun. I used to wear a T-shirt saying ‘UNNATURAL’.

  19. 19
    BecomingJulie

    It could get really interesting if a transwoman and a transman applied to get married …..

  1. 20
    The Texas Republican Party platform for 2012 | Pharyngula

    [...] heard about the Texas Republican Party platform on the Atheist Experience last night, and today Zinnia Jones has a post about it. Have you seen this thing? The Texas Freedom Network has a breakdown of its [...]

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